exercise

Is Social Media Beneficial Or Harmful When Working Towards A Fitness Goal?

Social media is so interwoven into the fabric of our everyday lives that it’s hard to imagine a time without it. Many have taken to these networks to share snippets of their daily routines, and to show off successes and progress. The fitness community on social media is wide-reaching, with a hefty number of diet and wellness pages/profiles to follow.

You may also notice friends posting gym pictures or photographs of their healthy meals for others to see and like. On top of that, many fitness apps even come with an option to sync or share progress on social media.

All this can make you pretty excited to start using these platforms in similar ways, or might urge you to follow some advice-filled accounts for tips and tricks. But is social media really beneficial for you when you’re working towards a fitness goal? Let’s look at the pros and the cons.

The Pros

It’s Good Motivation
Being surrounded by hundreds or even thousands of people aiming for the same thing as you can make you feel incredible motivated. You’ll find people with your body type, people who face the same struggles as you, and people who will keep you going when you feel like giving up. Sometimes, posting your goals and progress on social networking sites may even help you stick to them.

You Have Access to a Sea of Information
There is endless data available through social media. You can find products, diet plans, exercise routines, and excellent advice that can really help you achieve more during your fitness journey. Best of all, it’s completely free. You can follow a personal trainer on Instagram and watch videos of his workouts without needing to pay for his services. And in all honesty, that’s pretty neat!

You Become Part of a Community
Being part of a health-driven community means that you’ll never be short of people to turn to, discuss ideas with, and get personalized advice from. You may even gain a few workout buddies! Yes, there are bad seeds in every group, but you’ll ultimately find like-minded acquaintances who can encourage you to grow while you, in turn, encourage them. There’s no better feeling!

The Cons

Anyone and Everyone Can Share “Advice”
The number of “bloggers” and “fitness gurus” who are actually just out to make a quick buck or gain some fame can make finding good people to follow a tricky task. Many may offer terrible advice and get you off to the wrong start. Keep in mind that even the best of fitness personalities may sell out once in a while and promote a fad diet or an expensive product that makes ridiculous claims and promises. Avoid the fraudsters and check for qualifications. Legit bloggers and gurus will be more than welcome to share their qualifications and achievements with you.

It’s Not All Real
A social media picture, perfectly framed and shot so as to show someone’s best angles and finished off with a caption followed by tens upon tens of hashtags, isn’t a good representation of real life. It’s a photograph taken out of context. It presents these fitness gurus as something more than human with a perfect lifestyle and all the free time in the world to burn off that many calories per day. Only the most flattering snapshots are shared, and it can make you feel like you’re just not good enough or making progress as fast as you should.

You Could do it For The Wrong Reasons
Seeing other people progressing faster than you, or going on a more difficult regimen than you’re on, can really get you thinking. You could start feeling jealous, or suspect that the grass is greener on the other side, and try to imitate or catch up with your peers. In reality, you should be attempting a healthy lifestyle for no one else but yourself.

Conclusion

So, is social media any good at all when you’re trying to get fit? The honest answer is that it depends on how you use it. Social media is a tool, and if you harness it right, you’ll be able to use it effectively and to your advantage.

Breanne Fleat is a writer, peanut butter fanatic, and keen Instagrammer at ProteinPromo. Keep up to date with their latest posts by following the link. And don’t worry, all our professional advice is presented by a qualified exercise scientist!!

Guest Post: Going to the next Level: How Fitness Clothes Can Improve Your Workout Routine

Everybody knows that saying “You are what you wear” but it’s commonly associated only with dressing for business meetings or going out while dressing for a workout seems to be neglected. It’s a messy activity anyway and you’ll just get sweaty, so why not just wear an old T-shirt and get it over with, right? Well, professional athletes’ and trainers’ experience says differently. Wearing proper fitness clothes goes far beyond wanting to look good for gym selfies, too – it’s a question of improving your workout results. Here’s how getting the right shorts or leggings can level up your fitness routine.

Dress to impress… yourself

When you wear a certain piece of clothing, your mind goes through a mental change scientists call enclothed condition. This was confirmed in a study that showed the importance of our association with certain pieces of garment meaning that when you put on your fitness wear, you become more eager to go the gym and get your workout done. It’s a matter of confidence, actually – if you know that you look good, chances are you’re going to act like that as well. That’s why psychologists and fitness experts suggest you should get dressed for a workout way ahead of time – to get yourself motivated.

In fact, with the rise of athleisure wear trend, fitness clothes are becoming an integral part of street style fashion. Now you can incorporate trendy bodybuilding shorts or fashionable leggings into your everyday outfits without worrying people will look at you funny. Activewear is getting more and more attention in the fashion world as well and it’s all good for promoting healthy lifestyles. Putting on some good-looking fitness clothes is the easiest way to give yourself a motivational boost, so don’t hesitate to take yourself shopping.

Say hello to better results and goodbye to injuries

Besides looking good, proper workout clothes are important for your safety as well. Improper fitness clothes are one of the main reasons people get injured, right after incorrect techniques, not stretching, and not warming up enough. Even if you’re a beginner who just goes jogging for a few minutes before work, wearing the wrong kind of shoes might get you in trouble and cause serious injuries. Purchasing the right shoes will depend on the type of physical activity you engage in, so make sure you give it some thought.

On the other hand, weather conditions also play a major role in your workout routine, especially if you like working out outside. If the sun is shining, you’ll need some kind of cap to protect your head and a long-sleeved shirt to prevent sunburn. Cold season demands long-sleeves, too – to protect your body from cold and the wind and keep your muscles warm. Ankles are the ones that suffer the most damage during any kind of workout that includes feet movement, so you’ll want to make sure they’re well protected with high-tops. Finally, your workout clothes must fit you well in order to improve freedom of movement and provide good support at the same time.

Go the extra mile with new technologies

A couple of years ago, wearable tech started to gain its momentum and that’s why, nowadays, we see more and more companies introducing smart watches, activity trackers, fitness apps, etc. Now the trend has expanded to workout clothes as well with the idea that you can get better performance by wearing smart clothes.

Compression garments, for example, have been used in the medical field for years and now they found their role in a workout. Namely, they can increase the blood flow thus supplying your muscles with much-needed oxygen and helping your athletic performance get better. This is beneficial for the recovery period as well. Heart rate monitors are now built in sports bras so you can go even further without the fear of pushing yourself too hard. They even came up with running shorts that improve your posture. All of these are a normal part of the professional athlete’s workout routine but now they’re available to enthusiasts, too. Of course, simply purchasing fancy equipment is not enough to get you in top form but it can surely help you improve your performance and get even better results.

Spending a fortune on workout gear isn’t a way to success but investing in a few high-quality pieces can surely get you going in the right direction. Look good, get yourself motivated, and make sure you’re well protected – and the results will come in no time.

Nicole Noël is a travel addict and a passionate writer. She always seeks new adventures, and she loves to share her experiences. She’s architecture and interior design enthusiast. In her spare time, she loves to design furniture, clothes, and jewellery. She also enjoys preparing and eating delicious food with her friends. You can read about her adventures on her social media streams.

Running Away From Life’s Problems

Too much of a good thing – it seems like something that’s impossible when you’re enjoying it, but it’s true. You can overdo absolutely anything, even if it’s the most favorite thing in the world for you to do or indulge in. Taking everything to the limit and going overboard can put you off in some cases, but in others it can ruin an activity for you completely – and not just in mentality, but in physical form too. Here’s why it’s a bad idea to start running away from life’s problems.

Slowly Overdoing It

You don’t notice that you’re going too far on the whole exercise regime until something starts to happen. It could be that you’re starting to feel fatigued, not getting the same amount of energy or endorphin release from your workout as you usually do, or that – in extreme cases – you have passed out from the sheer exhaustion. Taking your routine to the next level can help in some cases, but you need to take into consideration just how much you can take on and do in order to get you there.

Part of a Healthy Lifestyle

With exercise comes the need to be able to do other things alongside it. Keeping up a relatively unhealthy diet whilst pumping weights in the gym will do nothing good for your body. You need fuel from certain food groups that junk food just won’t cover; your body will go into a sort of starvation mode if it isn’t given the energy that it needs. Think of it like putting petrol into a diesel car – it just doesn’t work. It’s not as extreme as your car breaking down instantly, but that’s generally the jist of what could happen.

When Things Start to Go Wrong

It isn’t just diet which affects exercise and the whole routine that you’ll have going on there. There are other things that come into play as well. Drugs are often used to increase performance, and it’s not a new thing – doping issues have been going on long in the Olympics and even before this. There has always been something that a human can ingest that will make them better at whatever they’re doing. If you feel like you have taken this path and it’s getting out of control, consider seeing an addiction counselor to get you back on track. The quicker you nip the problem in the bud, the better you’ll be feeling.

How to Stay on Track

Keep a clear mind and give yourself something to focus on. Maybe enroll in a marathon or similar race to channel your energy into something positive. Don’t overdo it and try not to get too involved to the point where you are exceeding your limits. If you know that you struggle with going over the top, sit down and write a concise plan to give you clarity on what you need to do to achieve your goal without harming yourself. The more structure that you’ve got to work off, the less chance you have of going off the rails and doing damage which will take an age to reverse.

Ally Gonzales is the creator of RunningSoleGirl. The go-to place for everything healthy lifestyle and conditioning for running. She’s a runner, speaks a total of five languages, and is a soon-to-be college freshman majoring in Exercise and Sports Science.

Mind Over Matter

When it comes to getting fit, so many people seem just to be able to up sticks and completely transform their lifestyles without even trying. This gives many of us the impression that good health and fitness simply comes naturally to some of us; meaning that the rest of us are destined to be unfit or overweight forever more.

What a lot of us fail to recognize is that sure, it may seem as though these fitness fanatics can whip themselves into shape at any given moment. But in reality, no one knows what goes on behind closed doors.

That girl with the perfectly sculpted shoulders and rock hard abs? Her body could be the result of years of work in an uphill struggle. The point boils down to the fact that if you really want to get fit, you need to work for it. And if you want to work for it, you need to change your mindset. Trying to embark on an aggressive fitness plan with an unhealthy mindset is a complete no-go; it’s a little bit like trying to run a marathon with a sprained ankle. Get your mental health in order, and watch the amazing effect it can have on your physical health too. Here’s the importance of mind over matter.

Change Those ‘I Can’ts’ Into ‘I Can’s’

The number one thing that stops people achieving their fitness goals is believing that they are going to fail. Of course, we do have to be realistic – in some cases, you might indeed fail. But that’s okay. We all fail at things from time to time, but it isn’t an excuse to give up. Instead, make a point of learning from your failure and let it guide you in what to do next. When you stop being so harsh on yourself for not getting things right first time, you will open yourself up to growth and progress.

Erase Any Long-Standing Mental Health Issues

Putting pressure on yourself to excel physically, while ignoring any mental issues you may be struggling with, is only going to catch up with you in the end. If you have been struggling with something such as anxiety, depression, OCD or any other type of mental health problem, visit a clinical psychologist who will be able to help you recover. You would be surprised at how much more motivated you feel to go out and exercise (and not to eat junk food) when you are taking significant steps to improve your mental health.

Cut yourself some slack

One recurring theme in people suffering from mental health issues or body image disorders is that they constantly beat themselves up for veering away from their goals. If this sounds like you, the important thing to remember is that we are all only human. Even the fittest people in the world have the odd ‘cheat day‘ every now and again, after all. Eating a few slices of pizza is not going to undo all your hard work in one sitting; so don’t spend time dwelling on the things that don’t really matter.

Ally Gonzales is the creator of RunningSoleGirl. The go-to place for everything healthy lifestyle and conditioning for running. She’s a runner, speaks a total of five languages, and is a soon-to-be college freshman majoring in Exercise and Sports Science.

Why It’s Important to Listen To Your Body

Taking care of your body when you are exercising should be your top priority. Without the body there to do the job, you can’t focus your energy into what you enjoy/is good for you. From eating the right food to listening to what your body is wanting and needing, it can be a pretty tough gig to constantly follow up everything that is happening. But there are some things that you may not be noticing with your body that could be a sign of something more meaningful and important going on. Here’s why it’s important to listen to your body.

Sleep

If you’re not feeling refreshed from a good night’s sleep, you probably aren’t getting the amount of hours that you need. Although the recommended is a solid 8 hours, there are few people who can actually achieve this – we wake ourselves up more so than we should by looking at our smartphones in the middle of the night to check the time, or stresses and worries can start to creep upon us. Think about when the last time you slept through solidly was. If you can’t remember, it may be time to start going to bed earlier to try and get your 8 hours in. Another cause of feeling tired and restless when you wake up is sleep apnoea. This can come in two forms – obstructive and central – and it restricts your breathing so that your body isn’t getting enough oxygen while it is trying to rest. A simple sleep test will be able to determine whether or not you have it.

Heart Health

Most people aren’t aware of their heart rate and how fast it is meant to beat – it’s usually between 60 to 100 beats per minute, with a rise considered for exercise. It can be hard to constantly keep a check of your ticker, but if you feel like it’s not working as it should be it’s time to get it checked out before it’s too late. Even an irregular heartbeat can be a sign of something more serious; atrial fibrillation, or afib for short, is a condition that is brought on by a malfunction of the electrical system to your heart. Looking up afib information online is easy and can help massively with keeping you alert to the sign and symptoms of it.

Limbs

Pain in your arms and legs during or after exercise is commonly associated with going a bit too hard on your work out, but if it’s lasting any time longer than it should (a couple of days at the most), and you are feeling completely exhausted by what you have done, it could be a sign of adrenal fatigue. The best thing you can do is head to a doctor to get diagnosed and make sure that you’re not suffering more than you should be.

What’re Your Thoughts

Taking care of your body is of the utmost important, but it’s hard to do it unless you’re really considering the signs and symptoms it is offering to you. If you’re feeling unwell or unusual, don’t consider it as a one-off – get it checked out.

Ally Gonzales is the creator of RunningSoleGirl. The go-to place for everything healthy lifestyle and conditioning for running. She’s a runner, speaks a total of five languages, and is a soon-to-be college freshman majoring in Exercise and Sports Science.

Guest Post: Top 10 Weight Loss Exercises

Losing weight can be a difficult prospect. With so much information out there, it can be tough to find the right method. In this article, I’ll be talking about some fantastic weight loss exercises that you can do anywhere, anytime, and can help increase your metabolism so your body will burn off fat like butter.

There’s a common belief that only long distance or cardiovascular endurance type of exercises are good for weight loss. While you do lose weight while doing those exercises, they don’t increase your metabolism very much, because they don’t build much muscle mass. By doing some strength training, you will increase your muscle tone, and this will increase your metabolism. This can dramatically help you lose weight.

Squats

Squats are a great way to strengthen your upper legs, calves, stomach, and lower back. Stand with your feet about shoulder width apart. Take a deep breath in. Pull you arms back behind you, and begin to swing them forward as you squat down. Put the weight on the balls of your feet. Swing your arms so they tips of your fingers barely touch the floor. Inhale as you stand up. Repeat as many times as you can. At first, you’ll be able to do ten or twenty, but you’ll be able to increase over time.

Push ups

Push ups are another great way to increase your lean muscle mass. They work pretty much every muscle above the waist. Start in the push-up position, and then raise your backside so that you are in an upside down V. As you lower your midsection, sweep your chest and face forward, and then lift them up. Your legs and waist should be just above the floor, and chest and face should be pointed forward. Return to the V position and repeat. This is fairly difficult, so don’t expect to do more than a couple the first time. Just keep at it, and be prepared to be amazed at the changes in your upper body.

Sit up

Build good looking abs with sit ups. There are countless variations, so just choose one that you are familiar with. A common one, which works plenty of muscles, is called the mummy sit up. Lay down on your back, like you are getting ready to go to sleep. Then sit up without bending your legs, or lifting them off the floor. When you can do twenty-five of these, consider yourself to have stronger stomach muscles that pretty much anybody you meet.

Walking

Walking makes the best exercises list not because it is extraordinary but because you do it every day. It is extremely easy to stick to a workout plan when it includes walking because it’s something you do anyway. Simply making yourself walk more or further is much easier task than keeping that New Year’s resolution to go to the gym three times a week!

Planks

A plank is a variation of a push up and really works the core muscles. It includes pushing up off the ground as if you’re going to do a push up, but instead holding the pose for at least one minute. A repetition of ten to twenty planks per day will shed the pounds quicker than with 500 pushups a day! It is a good idea to start out slow as just one of these can really make a difference in your overall weight loss.

Dance

Dancing is an incredibly fun and easy way to shed pounds quickly. It also falls into the category of walking in that it is something that is easy to do when you are cleaning house or just lazing around on a Saturday morning. Remember it is always the things that are enjoyable that help you lose weight fast and that is because you are more likely to stick to the regimen if you aren’t bored or feel like you are punishing yourself.

Kettlebell Swings

Kettlebell Swings are a safe and effective exercise for most people. It’s a great full body workout that recruits several different muscle groups. Kettlebell swings not only improve muscle definition, but they’ll work on your cardiovascular endurance as well. If you have back pain, these are a great low impact exercise to improve endurance and strengthen the muscles of the back without a lot of risk for injury.

Strengthening Exercise

Strengthening exercise builds muscular strength and is a great complement to aerobic exercise. Lifting weights or utilizing resistance training machines are a great way to build muscle strength, but you can also successfully build muscle in the comfort of your own home by doing sit-ups, push-ups, leg lifts or taking a 2-5 pound weight with you when you go for a walk. Resistance bands can be purchased and used in the comfort of your home, as well.

Flexibility Training

Flexibility training is important because as we age, the full range of motion of our muscles and joints can decrease, and stretching can prevent this from happening. It’s easy to incorporate stretching into your exercise routine by stretching for at least 5-10 minutes before and after aerobic and strength-training exercise programs. And be sure you don’t overstretch, as this can injure your body.

Combo Workout Regimens

Combo workouts are quicker ways to lose weight. Doing the same workout every day can not only be boring but it can also prevent you from seeing true results. Once your body becomes conditioned to a workout it begins to slow down in way of progression due to muscle memory. But this is only one reason that combo workouts make such difference in your weight loss success.

These ten exercises should be enough to get you started. Don’t push yourself too hard, and add repetitions only when you feel comfortable. Give yourself a couple of months, and prepare to be amazed at how well these simple exercises will burn fat and dramatically change the way your body looks.

Kelly is the founder of RegularityFitness, where she and associates blog about the best fitness exercises, weight loss methods, diet, muscle building. That will help you get a good shape and healthy. You can also connect with Kelly on Twitter

Put Your ‘Gym Fear’ To Bed: Exercise While Feeling Great!

If you’ve not worked out in a while or are trying a new activity, it can leave you feeling a little self-conscious. Many people speak about ‘gym fear’ or ‘gym anxiety, ’ and it’s no wonder really. Going into an unfamiliar place where everyone looks great, who make working out appear effortless and know exactly what they’re doing can leave you feeling a little insecure. But don’t fret, pushing out of your comfort zone and taking these steps shows you’re trying. And who knows, in a few months you could be one of those making it look easy! If you need a bit of motivation or help with your confidence when it comes to working out, here are a few things to try.

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Ally Gonzales is the creator of RunningSoleGirl. The go-to place for everything healthy lifestyle and conditioning for running. She’s a runner, speaks a total of five languages, and is a soon-to-be college freshman majoring in Exercise and Sports Science.

Get Your Body in Shape by Summer

Now that we are finally closing the door on winter, we are starting to think about the summer months. After all, summer is when we can finally get our short sleeved tops and shorts out of the wardrobe again. And we tend to take our main holiday in the summer months! And this means we will have to get our beach body in check. But is it too late to be in shape by summer? A lot of people think that they won’t be able to get their dream shape by the time the sun arrives. But it can be a possibility, so don’t give up. Here are some ways you can get your body in shape by summer.

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Ally Gonzales is the creator of RunningSoleGirl. The go-to place for everything healthy lifestyle and conditioning for running. She’s a runner, speaks a total of five languages, and is a soon-to-be college freshman majoring in Exercise and Sports Science.

Make Exercise Part of Your Lifestyle

The problem many people can have with exercise and fitness is they see it as separate from their daily lives. Do you go for an hour jog before work then get on with your day, or hit the gym evenings and weekends to get your exercise quota in? It doesn’t have to be this way; it’s easy to incorporate exercise into your everyday activities and move your body without even thinking about it. Here are a few tips to help you easily make exercise part of your lifestyle.

Bike to Work

You have to get to work, and you have to exercise. Why not kill two birds with one stone? Even if you live a long way from your work; you could get a foldable bicycle and cycle to the train or bus station. Fold it down, then when you get off cycle the rest of the way to work. It’s good for the environment, far cheaper than monthly gym memberships, and in some cases might be a lot less hassle too. Rather than getting stuck in traffic you could get some fresh air and arrive for the day feeling energized.

Play Sports With Friends

Instead of socializing in the pub, round up your friends and do some activities together! It could be something formal and set up like a team sport at a local sports center. It could be something more casual like a game of rounders at the park. You could even be paintballing or rock climbing. You’ll have fun, get quality time in with the people who are important to you, and get some all-important exercise in too. Throw in some healthy competition, and everyone is sure to push themselves that bit harder, which is no bad thing! Either round up your existing pals or meet some new ones; sports clubs, Facebook groups and online forums are where you’re likely to find those with a similar interest to you.

Get The Family Involved

If you have kids, running around with them is a great way to get yourself (and them!) tired out. You could arrange a family bike ride, and even pack a picnic if you’re going to be out for the day. You could go on hikes with your kids and dog, or throw a ball or frisbee in a wide open space. Plus you could even play tag or run around in a nonsense made up game they have made up. Your children are sure to enjoy the quality time with you, and it’s good for their health as well as yours. Make it fun, and they’ll enjoy being active and it will set them up for healthy habits for later in life.

If you get up and moving and have fun; you’ll do a ton of exercise without even really feeling like you are. This is the best way to stay in shape, there’s no worry of missing gym sessions or “falling off the wagon.” You’re simply going about your day but keeping active at the same time.

Ally Gonzales is the creator of RunningSoleGirl. The go-to place for everything healthy lifestyle and conditioning for running. She’s a runner, speaks a total of five languages, and is a soon-to-be college freshman majoring in Exercise and Sports Science.

Sick of Being Sedentary? Exercises You Can Do From Your Office

Back when we as humans used to have to hunt and chase down our food, getting enough exercise wasn’t an issue. However for many of us in the modern day, bringing home the bacon means being sat at a desk for long hours which isn’t the best for health. Back, neck and joint issues can arise from being seated, and because we’re not up and around burning calories, it inevitably leads to weight gain too.

When you have to spend eight hours plus every day sat at your desk; it can leave you feeling like there’s not much you can do about getting more exercise. Unless you’re motivated enough to hit the gym every night after a long day’s work, which let’s face it most of us aren’t. However, there are things you can do which can help, and make all the difference. Sedentary jobs are linked to obesity which can cause everything from diabetes to stroke to heart attacks- so anything that can help prevent this is no bad thing. Here are some of the exercises you can do from your office.

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Ally Gonzales is the creator of RunningSoleGirl. The go-to place for everything healthy lifestyle and conditioning for running. She’s a runner, speaks a total of five languages, and is a soon-to-be college freshman majoring in Exercise and Sports Science.

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